Animal Planet's Mermaids: The New Evidence and its previous mermaid documentary Mermaids: The Body Found have kicked off global mer-mania. The New Evidence brought Animal Planet its highest ratings ever, breaking the previous record set by The Body Found. But some are saying the ratings windfall has come at the expense of the network's dignity. That is, people are calling the shows a bunch of hooey.
Are Animal Planet's Mermaids specials fake? What about the mermaid body found on the beach in a clip from Mermaids: The Body Found? What about the exclusive interview with former NOAA scientist Dr. Paul Robertson, who is very serious about the new evidence of mermaids that has allegedly emerged in recent years?
And what about the fact that the Animal Planet Mermaids specials play like documentaries, complete with scientists who claim to have found a mermaid body on a Washington state beach? Or the fact that this is Animal Planet we're talking about here -- a channel devoted to documentary series and specials about the natural world?
Watch the shocking video of a mermaid body "found" on a beach!
As tempting as it is to believe "new evidence" that mermaids exist, the only real evidence we have proves quite conclusively that the Animal Planet mermaids shows are faked. They are hoaxes.
Let's start with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which we like to picture as one big building by the sea full of exasperated scientists, dressed as Jacque Cousteau, shaking their fists at fake ocean documentaries. After Animal Planet released Mermaids: The Body Found, which alleged that NOAA was involved in a government cover-up of new mermaid evidence, the agency was so overwhelmed by demands for this evidence to be released that it posted an official statement on its website.
"No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," NOAA posted. Perhaps feeling unable to ignore the intense public interest regardless of what exasperated scientists take for granted as facts, the NOAA website elaborated a bit: "Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists."
Yeah, says Animal Planet, Not really. Animal Planet's general manager Marjorie Kaplan knows a good thing when she sees one, and she's not about to cool it with the mermaid coverage. "The phenomenon of MERMAIDS has truly been a watershed - and a watercooler - moment for Animal Planet," said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged & entertained television audiences and online fans alike."
But NOAA is right. There is no evidence of mermaids, and what is presented in Animal Planets "documentaries" is basically all in fun. Though producers obviously intended to leave the fact-or-fiction line blurry for viewers, it isn't like they went to any fraudulent lengths to conceal the fact that the mermaids specials were fake. If you look closely at the credits, you'll find a few "scientists" played by actors, and if you visit the Animal Planet website you'll find that the special was officially aired as "science fiction based on some real events and scientific theory."
Watch clips from Mermaids: The New Evidence below!
Still, expect to see more Animal Planets mermaids specials in the future. Kaplan has admitted that the network is already looking for more ways to cash in on the intense public interest in mermaids, saying, "It has us thinking about what we do next. We're thinking big."
Looks like NOAA and other experts will have to get used to these pseudo-documentaries for the time being. At least Kaplan has given NOAA props for their response. "They handled it beautifully," she said, "with aplomb."